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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Revisiting the negotiated transition to democracy: South Africa through the stages of ambition, distraction, approximation and supersession (1990-1994)
Author:Thotse, M.L.
Periodical:New contree: a journal of historical and human sciences for Southern Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
peace negotiations
African National Congress (South Africa)
National Party
Abstract:The passage toward democracy in the 1990s presented perhaps the most difficult period in the history of South Africa in terms of decisionmaking, both by the incumbent government and the liberation movements. Both had to sacrifice their longstanding policies for the achievement of democracy. South Africa's transition was haunted by the determination of the leading parties to negotiate from a position of strength. This obsession among the major contenders, viz. the National Party (NP)/government and the ANC, in a historically violent South Africa, proved to be a costly endeavour during the period of political transition. The costly nature of the endeavour manifested itself in the programmes and position statements put forward at the negotiating table. These revolved around the majority principle of power favoured by the ANC and the minority principle of power sharing favoured by the NP. However, none of these positions could succeed. This article investigates in detail how, during the period February 1990-November 1992, the two competing actors could be bound to the policy purposes of their most vulnerable members and simultaneously drag the country's negotiated transition through what C. Bell (1963) termed the stages of ambition, distraction, approximation and supersession. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]